Utes Face Beavers to Kick Off Pac-12 Gauntlet


Jack Gambassi

University of Utah runningback Micah Bernard (#2) during the NCAA football game against SDSU on Sept 17, 2022, at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


The University of Utah football team takes on Oregon State this weekend in a game that might be tougher than advertised. Utah has been dominant ever since their season-opening loss to the Florida Gators, but this will be their toughest test since then. It begins a stretch of four games that could make or break the Utes’ season.

Oregon State is 3-1 with a close 14-17 loss to No. 6 USC last week. They had the lead for most of the night, but ultimately fell just a bit shy of a massive upset. The weeks don’t get any easier for the Beavers, who now have to travel to face a rolling No. 12 Utah.

This Week In Utah

Looming over the team this week is the season-ending loss of tight end Brant Kuithe, who was hurt at the end of the 1st quarter during last week’s domination of Arizona State. Kuithe was diagnosed with a torn ACL, knocking him out for 2022.

Questions of whether or not Kuithe will redshirt and run it back in 2023 or pursue the NFL, as was the plan before the injury, won’t be answered for a few months. For now, the Utes will have to adjust to life without their star tight end, and that involves numerous changes in the offense. 

Dalton Kincaid will remain a top target for Cameron Rising. Thomas Yassmin looks ready to step up as the TE2, but will he be used as much as Kuithe was? Will we see more of Micah Bernard running wideout and tight end routes, especially with Ja’Quinden Jackson’s move to running back? Do Devaughn Vele and Solomon Enis get more targets? 

We’ll get our first look at the new Utes’ offense on Saturday. Lots of questions to be answered, but that’s part of what makes football fun. Utah has weapons to replace Kuithe, but they’ll have to be creative. The Beavers won’t make it easy.

Scouting the Beavers

Oregon State is probably knocked out of the Pac-12 Title race after a loss last week. They’ll give the Utes their best shot, and that shot was almost enough to topple USC. Quarterback Chance Nolan has been good so far this year, but he’ll be tested against a strong Utah pass rush and secondary. 

This is a team with a strong offense and defense and a stellar coach in Jonathan Smith. They are tough to beat every week, and will be especially fired up coming off a loss. Utah needs to be careful here — if they are caught sleeping they will get beat.

Final Thoughts

This starts a four-game stretch where Utah will play Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Washington State. It may not be an overreaction to say that a single loss knocks them out of the Pac-12 title race with USC and Oregon looking great (with the Ducks coming up on the schedule in November), and Washington playing lights-out with a soft schedule. 

Utah and Oregon State kick off at noon from Rice-Eccles Stadium. 

No mistakes can be afforded going forward. Let’s play some football.


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